Struthers mother pleads guilty in son’s death

YOUNGSTOWN – The mother of a Struthers teen who was beaten to death pleaded guilty Monday to child endangering charges.

Shain Widdersheim, 32, 28 Creed St., Struthers, pleaded guilty in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to four counts of child endangering and obstructing justice.

As part of the plea deal, county prosecutors are recommending she serve 10 years. She will be sentenced at a later date.

Her son, Teddy Foltz, 14, died Jan. 26 of head trauma after he was taken first to Akron Children’s Hospital Boardman Campus and then St. Elizabeth Health Center.

On Jan. 23, a relative contacted police and asked them to investigate because of the suspicious nature of Foltz’s head injury.

Widdersheim’s boyfriend, Zaryl Bush, 43, also is charged in the teen’s death. He is facing life in prison for two types of murder, six counts of child endangering, two counts of intimidating Foltz’s twin brothers, who prosecutors say were witnesses to abuse against Foltz, and tampering with evidence.

Widdersheim’s twin 10-year-old sons are in the custody of the Mahoning County Children Services Board.

Bush has a pretrial hearing Wednesday.

Shortly after Foltz’s death, Detectives Jeff Lewis and Ray Greenwood said that for the last three years, Bush had cut Foltz and his mother off from the outside world and from the prying eyes of strangers.

“This kid did not have a pleasant life,” Lewis said.

Lewis said police and the county Children Services Board were called by neighbors to investigate claims of abuse but they were stymied by Bush and Widdersheim.

”They refused to open doors,” he said.

Lewis said Bush ran a tight ship in the three years he lived with Widdersheim, adding that when Struthers City Schools reported suspected abuse in October, the couple withdrew the children from the district and opted to homeschool them.

“It appears the suspect ran it (home) like a boot camp,” Lewis said. “From everything we learned, the victim and his mother were cut off from their own family.”